The Adam Elements iKlips duo is yet another in an endless stream of removable data solutions for the iPhone and iPad that seems to be hitting the market these days. They come in all shapes and sizes, capacities and colours, so what makes this one any different? And why the heck is it so frickin’ expensive?
The model I have for testing is the 16gb model in bright red. I know from the IKlips website there are other more sumptuous looking colour combinations which will perhaps assuage some of the £50 price concern, but this basic red on red plastic and silicone unit, whilst not unattractive, looks no different to me than the sort of cheap and cheerful stocking fillers you see everywhere. So first impressions are far from mind-blowing.
The unit itself is a small double-ended device (hence the name) with a USB 3.0 connector on one side and lightning on the other. It fits easily, yet securely in a silicone holder, which initially seemed like a bit of a gimmick, but it is actually very functional, protecting the connectors and enabling you to attach the whole thing to a keyring. I will say that it does seem very well made and definitely feels a lot more solid than a lot of the standard fare. I was concerned that the device might fall out of its little silicone holster, but even with a good bit of pocket travel, this never happened.
I removed the unit from its holder and tried to plug it into my iPhone 7, which currently resides in a fairly thick Gear4 drop “proof case”. This is usually where most of these devices fall, right at hurdle number 1. Thankfully the designers of the iklip were switched on enough to elongate the connector just a smidge – but that smidge makes all the difference! It’s a snug fit, but you can fully plug the iKlips into the phone without removing the case, this is a huge win for the device and I’m starting to take it more seriously.
Now comes the acid test. As we’ve seen before, no matter how good the device is, if the supporting app isn’t up to snuff, it’s going to fail hard. Prompted to do so, I downloaded the iKlips app from the app store and was presented with a simple screen that looked similar to other generic apps I’ve seen before, showing the memory used on my phone along with options for Photos, Music, Videos and All files. There is also an Adam Elements logo in the centre which brings up the options menu.
Fortunately, this is where any similarity between this app and the others ends. It appears simple, but as you delve into the various options, you just keep discovering more and more functions and capabilities. There has clearly been a lot of time and effort spent on this software and it shows. It is well laid out, the features make sense and there is a help function if you get lost. It even offers the ability to format the drive in either Fat32 or ex-FAT for you.
The iKlips features a really handy option of utilising its memory in real time. With the device plugged in, you can record photos, video etc, straight to it, negating the need to continuously transfer content to the device. The only minor niggle I found with this was physically using the phone with the iKlips sticking out the bottom, it was certainly doable, just felt a little clunky. The software also allows the IKlips to act as a backup device for photos, calendar, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram as well as a variety of cloud storage services. File transfer is straight forward, quick and can be password protected so you can share specific info whilst protecting others. All terribly clever. The more I use it, the more it impressed
Plugging the USB end into my PC, I tested the transfer speeds and it did not disappoint. It claims read speed of 140Mb and, while I couldn’t quite reach this number, I did come dangerously close. This is vital if you want to use the iKlips as a backup for your phone and don’t want to sit for hours waiting for your all important holiday snaps to transfer across.
So to answer my own question, the thing that makes this one different is simple – you get a shed load of additional functionality. It’s not just a basic data holder, it is so much more. Of course this kind of thought, care and attention comes at a price. Whether or not that price is justified is, I’m afraid, entirely up to you dear reader.